Tuesday, 21 May, 2019

Russian Journalist Critical of Kremlin Killed in Kiev

Head of Ukraine's State Security Service Vassily Gritsak Arkady Babchenko and Ukraine's Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko Russian Journalist Critical of Kremlin Killed in Kiev
Patty Aguilar | 30 May, 2018, 17:31

A Russian journalist who had been highly critical of the Kremlin has been shot dead in the Ukrainian capital, with police saying he was targeted because of his work.

His wife found him Tuesday night in his apartment building's stairwell covered in blood after being shot repeatedly in the back, Ukrainian police said. Investigators and a handful of politicians suspect that Russian Federation is connected to the murder, with Kiev Police Chief Andriy Krishchenko pointing out the nature of Babchenko's "professional activities".

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said the "Russian totalitarian machine" had not forgiven Mr Babchenko for his "honesty and principled stance". "The killers should be punished". In 2017, Babchenko left Russian Federation, after which he lived in the Czech Republic and Israel, in August 2017 he moved to Kiev, where he conducted a program on the television channel ATR.

Officials in Moscow have rejected allegations by Ukraine that the Kremlin was behind the killing of a dissident Russian journalist in Kyiv.

Then again, this would hardly be the first time Russian Federation has been accused of attacking former nationals who criticized Putin while living overseas.

The comments came soon after Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko was shot dead in Kiev by unidentified assailant.

Another renowned journalist, Pavel Sheremet, a native of Belarus who had worked for Russian media outlets in the past, was killed in a vehicle bombing in central Kiev in July 2016.

Writing on the subject, he called Russian Federation an "aggressor" and criticized the air force's indiscriminate bombing campaign in Aleppo.

Kiev has in recent years seen a number of deadly attacks on high-profile journalists and politicians.

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In his reaction, the Ukrainian prime minister referred to Babchenko's last Facebook post. He also wrote articles for Novaya Gazeta.

"Babchenko was well known for his critical journalism, and authorities must consider his murder as an attack on press freedom", CPJ Europe and Central Asia coordinator Nina Ognianova said in a statement.

Babchenko fought in Russia's two Chechen campaigns in the 1990s and early 2000s before becoming a war correspondent and author.

Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov was shot and killed at the entrance of a hotel in Kiev past year.

In December 2016, Mr Babchenko wrote a Facebook post (in Russian) about a crashed Tu-154 transport plane, which fell into the Black Sea while carrying a Red Army choir to Syria.

He also added it was "a country I no longer feel safe in". "It's a second birthday for me".

Babchenko moved to Prague and then settled in Kiev with his wife and child. A lot of them were vocal critics of the Kremlin.

Another well-known journalist, Pavel Sheremet, from Belarus, was killed in a vehicle bombing in central Kiev in July 2016.

Another auto bomb killed Ukrainian military intelligence officer Col Maxim Shapoval in June 2017 in what the Ukrainian authorities called a terrorist act.

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